MBT Arjun Tank v/s. Al-Khalid Tank:- Who would win in a Head-to-Head Combat ?
The Indian subcontinent is home to two of the largest armies on Earth. Not only are the armies of India and Pakistan both larger in personnel than the U.S. Army, but they have stood at alert facing one another since the dissolution of the British Indian Army in 1947. The two armies have clashed four times in the past seventy years, and may yet do so again in the future.
Al-Khalid is a modified version of Chinese MBT-2000. It is specially customized for Pakistan Army and under production by Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT). It has an impressive firepower powered by 125mm smoothbore gun as main cannon.
Arjun is an Indian Main Battle Tank research and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with german assistance only for designing phase(MkI only). The MkIA variant is a massive overhaul with several modifications over the base variant.
Now, what if a Pakistan Army Al-Khalid shoot its round on an Arjun?
Al-Khalid is designed with a 125 mm bore, 48 calibre long smoothbore, auto-frettaged and chrome-plated gun barrel that can fire Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS), High-explosive anti-tank warhead (HEAT-FS) and High-Explosive Fin-Stabilized (HE-FS) rounds.
The main armament of the Arjun Mk II main battle tank consists of one 120mm rifled gun fitted with a thermal sleeve, fume extractor, and a muzzle reference system. The gun is able to fire a full range of ammunitions including FSAPDS (Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot), HESH (High-Explosive Squash Head), PCB, TB and the Israeli LAser Homing Anti-Tank (LAHAT) missile. LAser Homing Attack Missile, or LAHAT, is an advanced missile developed and manufactured by the MBT Division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Arjun MBT is protected by an indigenous lightweight, compact and proven (not battle proven but proven) “Kanchan” modular composite armour that is made by sandwiching composite panels between Rolled Homogeneous Armour (RHA). It works on the principal of decompression and compression. As the projectile hits the armour, it faces compression because of the RHA, and then it faces decompression because of the composite.
Kanchan armour gives 97% assurance for safety against Armour-Piercing Discarding Sabot(APDS) and High-Explosive Anti-Tank(HEAT) rounds and even Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) rounds.
During trials in 2000, the armour was able to withstand hits from a T-72 tank at point blank range, and defeated all high-explosive squash head (HESH) and APFSDS rounds, which also included Israeli APFSDS proving its capability to resist against heavy anti-tank munitions.
Arjun is not just protected by a Kanchan composite armour also A Laser Warning And Countermeasure System (ALWACS) developed in collaboration with the Israeli Company Elbit Systems is mounted on each side of the turret. The four ALWACS elements are mounted at each corner of the turret to provide 360-degree coverage. The system detects and classifies laser threats and fire smoke grenades from an independent rotary launcher
So here you can see, if Al-Khalid see and shoot first, it won’t assure them “kill” in first attempt. Arjun is underrated by many Western analysts specially because it took 35 years to build. Okay we need to agree that the MkI seriously owned some problems but MkIA variant is something new and better. However, it needs more improvements due to overweight. Also, it has weak spots in the MkIA variant too specially in the turret and hull section. That’s why an Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) is also under development for enhanced safeguarding of turret against anti-tank.